Following an announcement by the Government that unaccompanied asylum seeking children will be brought to the UK, Kevin Williams, chief executive of The Fostering Network, said: “This move will provide safety and security for children, and foster care has a massive role to play. We call upon the Government to ensure that local authorities are properly resourced to meet the challenge that they have set.
‘Foster carers already provide homes and families for the refugee children who have arrived in the UK alone, and are best placed to do so. Foster carers are hugely experienced in dealing with children, with a huge range of needs, who could arrive at their front door at any time of day or night. We have no doubts of the skills and commitment of foster carers and their ability to be a bright light in a loving home, in the darkest of hours.
‘However we must not forget that over the coming weeks and months we will need our social services, social workers, foster carers, and all members of the team that will work with each child to know they have the full backing of the UK's governments to do their job. This means that even in this time of austerity and cuts we must take a very human look at this situation.
‘We have agreed not to sit back and watch the world go by and therefore with this commitment we must do all we can to give every child the best chance of a positive future. A creative and flexible approach to finding homes for these children will be needed, requiring financial investment and leadership from the UK's governments and robust support from social care and the wider community.
‘Fostering services, and the services that support children, are stretched but they are currently coping. They're working as hard as they can to ensure that all children have a chance of a positive future. If local authorities are well supported then we're confident that they can rise to the unprecedented challenges faced by the ongoing refugee crisis.
‘As more detail emerges from Government the numbers and timescales will become clearer, the sector can start to work towards ensuring the right homes are available for the children who come. The Fostering Network is here to work with our fostering service members and advise governments and others on the best way to achieve this, as well as providing the expert advice and training needed to ensure foster carers are best placed to be able to care for the children.’
If you’d like to find out more information about fostering, and how to become a foster carer, please visit: https://www.fostering.net/advice-information/could-you-foster